Online Articles

A group of grape pickers. Photo by Tomas Castelazo, licensed under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/deed.en

Workers Among Most Vulnerable to Climate Change

January 12, 2021 by Scott Fletcher Climate change

By Shannon Twiss, Staff Contributor

Policymakers should take a closer look at the way the effects of climate change are taking their toll on our most essential workers in agriculture, manufacturing, and emergency response.

Hand-made sign stating "Lead Keep Out." Photo by Steven Depolo, licensed under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

The Flint Water Settlement and Implications of the Michigan Supreme Court’s Reaffirmation of State Constitutional Tort Claims

December 1, 2020 by Scott Fletcher State and Local Water

By: Alexander Collingsworth, Staff Contributor

Residents of Flint, Michigan will likely receive some compensation soon for the poisoning of their drinking water. In August, the state of Michigan settled claims against it and Michigan officials, including former Governor Rick Snyder, for $600 million. What are the implications of the Michigan Supreme Court decision that opened the way for this settlement? And how much money are individual residents likely to see?

An oil pump, presumably extracting oil in a parcel of barren land.

Brownfields – Abandonment in Bankruptcy Amidst the Covid-19 Pandemic

November 9, 2020 by Lawrence Corbeille

By Shamila Kara, Staff Contributor.

Brownfields are formed when a property’s use or development has been curtailed by the presence of environmental contaminants. There are over 450,000 Brownfields in the United States today and these sites are home to major environmental pollutants. How does bankruptcy contribute to this issue and why should some states and communities be more concerned than others?

coal stacks emitting pollutants into the atmosphere

Reclassification of Major Sources as Area Sources Under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act: A Farewell to “Once In, Always In”

November 9, 2020 by Cullen T. Bryant

By: Hunter Johnston, Staff Contributor

On October 1, 2020, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized text for a final rule that proposed to change the way facilities that emit hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) are regulated under the Clean Air Act.[i] The rule, titled Reclassification of Major Sources as Area Sources Under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act, purports to implement a plain language interpretation of Section 112 of the Clean Air Act.[ii] In practical effect, the final rule provides that a “major source” can reclassify to “area source” status at any time after reducing its actual or potential hazardous air pollutants (HAP) emissions to below the major source threshold of 10 tons per year (tpy) of any single HAP and 25 tpy of any combination of HAPs.[iii] Additionally, the rule amends Clean Air Act requirements regarding compliance dates, notification, and recordkeeping.[iv]

Imagining a Greener Future for Post-COVID-19

October 25, 2020 by Brooke McClain Delaney Air Chemicals Climate change Fossil Fuels International

By Hyunjin Kim, Staff Contributor

"Normal was a crisis." When we say we want to "go back to normal," do we really mean the world exactly as we left it? Or, could we use COVID as a means of building something better than what we had, perhaps greener?

Newsom addressing California's constituents about the purpose of his recent executive order, an effort by the State to mitigate the on-going consequences of climate change. Image by Daniel Kim/The Sacramento Bee.

California’s Ban on Gasoline-Powered Vehicles - Will it Take Effect?

October 20, 2020 by Alec Williams Air Climate change Fossil Fuels State and Local

By Camden Douglas, Staff Contributor

On September 23, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newson issued an executive order[1] that is expected to reduce the impact of climate change by drastically transforming the State's transportation industry. California experiences many unique climate change-related problems. For instance, as a result of climate change, the duration of California's wildfire season has more than doubled since 1980.[2] Indeed, this year, California is experiencing a record-breaking burn,[3] with wildfires scorching millions of acres of land.[4] The executive order, in an attempt to attenuate some of these climate change-related impacts on the State, requires all new passenger vehicles sold in California to be zero-emission by 2035, effectively banning the sale of new gasoline-powered vehicles in just fifteen years.[5]

The Energy Treaty 2.0 - What Does It Mean For The European Green New Deal

October 13, 2020 by Cullen T. Bryant Energy Natural Resources Renewable Energy

By Volodymyr Ponomarov, Staff Contributor

The European Green New Deal is an environmental plan aimed at making Europe carbon-neutral by 2050.[1] In order to achieve this ambitious goal, the European Union (“EU”) initiated the revision of a number of international agreements. Among one of those agreements is the Energy Charter Treaty (“ECT”). In July and September, 2020, the European Commission and EU Member States had two rounds of negotiations at the Energy Charter Conference dedicated to the modernization of the ECT.[2] The call for the ECT’s reform was, among other things, prompted by the ECT’s purported “serious threat to Europe’s climate neutrality target and more broadly to the implementation of the Paris Agreement.”[3] 

The ECT’s modernization is important because this is the first targeted attempt to reshape the unique, legally-binding, energy-related multilateral treaty and marks a step towards compliance with the Paris Climate Accord. Additionally, modernization of the ECT provisions is relevant to U.S. companies investing in both the renewable and fossil fuel energy sectors of the ECT Member States. At this point, it is unclear how the two rounds of negotiations went and whether the actual changes are coming in the nearest future. The third round of negotiations is scheduled to take place in December 2020. This post will take a closer look at the ECT’s history, goals, and environmental standards. Furthermore, this post will address novel critiques as to its incompatibility with the Paris Climate Accord.

Don’t Let this Crisis Go to Waste

May 3, 2020 by Camilla Brandfield-Harvey Climate change Energy Natural Resources Renewable Energy

By Robert Patton, Managing Editor

The coronavirus pandemic provides a unique opportunity to address global climate change.